Nov 17, 2001
Tommy Bowden Post Game Press Conference
By JEFFREY COLLINSAssociated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – After all he’s been through in four years at South Carolina, Phil Petty wasn’t about to let a sore shoulder keep him from beating Clemson for the first time.
Petty, questionable before kickoff, downed a few aspirins before going 14-of-23 for 152 yards as his No. 22 Gamecocks beat Clemson 20-15 on Saturday.
The win in Petty’s final home game snapped a four-game losing streak against the Tigers (5-5) and will likely boost South Carolina (8-3) into a high-tier bowl game for the second straight year.
“We said before we left the locker room we wouldn’t consider this a successful season if we lost,” Petty said.
Petty was so determined to beat his team’s most bitter rival that he stayed in the game after he separated the injured shoulder in the second quarter.
And on third-and-goal from South Carolina’s 8 with his team leading by four, Petty ran a naked bootleg. He led into the tackle with his bum shoulder, gaining an extra 3 yards.
While Petty didn’t score the TD, he got close enough to give coach Lou Holtz the confidence to go for it on fourth-and-goal. Backup quarterback Corey Jenkins drove in off right tackle to give the Gamecocks a 20-9 lead.
“This is our biggest win since I’ve been here,” said Petty, who suffered through the Gamecocks’ 21-game losing streak that ended the first game of the 2000 season. “This is the happiest I’ve ever been.”
The Tigers, who went 9-3 last year, have lost four of their last five games and have to beat Duke on Dec. 1 to become bowl eligible.
“You don’t know this rivalry until you lose,” Clemson linebacker Chad Carson said.
After a sluggish first half, South Carolina dominated Clemson in the last 30 minutes. The Gamecocks had the 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended in the clinching touchdown and a seven minute, 40-yard drive for a field goal. Behind an offensive line playing without two starters, South Carolina held the ball for more than 21 minutes in the second half, outgaining the Tigers 181-104, with most of Clemson’s yards coming on an 85-yard desperation drive after they fell behind by 11.
“It seemed like they had the ball forever,” Tiger cornerback Toure Francis said.
Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler ran 20 times for 102 yards and was 15-of-29 for 204 yards and two touchdowns. The two interceptions were especially painful, each ending Tigers drives in Gamecocks territory.
“They did nothing special,” Dantzler said. “We had careless penalties and made mistakes.”
South Carolina needed two big plays in the first half to stay in the game. The first came as the Tigers went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Clemson 43, already ahead 6-0. Dantzler faked a sneak, then lofted a pass to a wide open Airese Currie. But the ball floated, allowing cornerback Sheldon Brown to catch up for his first of two interceptions.
If Brown misses the pick “that would have changed the whole game,” Holtz said.
The second big play for the Gamecocks came on a third-and-14 from their own 10. Andrea Gause jumped to catch Petty’s pass, gaining 36 yards. Five plays later, Derek Watson’s 6-yard touchdown run put South Carolina ahead 10-9.
A record crowd of 85,000 at Williams-Brice Stadium watched the Gamecocks beat their bitterest rival for the first time since 1996. It was South Carolina’s first win over Clemson in Columbia since 1987.
Fullback Andrew Pinnock led South Carolina with 80 yards on 14 carries, including a 19-yard run on third-and-one with less than two minutes left that sealed the game.
Clemson scored its first touchdown on a 54-yard pass to Currie for the freshman’s first career touchdown. But Currie got a celebration penalty after the play, and Aaron Hunt missed the 35-yard point after attempt, giving Clemson a 6-0 lead. Currie would finish the game with three catches for 65 yards.
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